Impact Blog

The views expressed in these posts are those of the authors and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Calvert disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Calvert are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Calvert fund. References to individual companies for Engagement or Research purposes are provided for illustrative purposes only and may not be representative of the results of all of Calvert’s engagement efforts. The discussion herein is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. There is no guarantee as to its accuracy or completeness. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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      By Anthony Eames, Director of Responsible Investment Strategy, Calvert Research and Management

      Washington - Investors across all demographics want to direct retirement assets toward solutions focused on sustainable business practices, environmental protections and social justice. This finding comes from a Calvert survey of 401(k) and 403(b) participants, which revealed that the ability to pursue these types of investments within traditional 401(k) plans would favorably affect how the participants viewed their plans as well as their employers.1

      The survey polled over 1,000 401(k), 403(b) and 457 retirement plan participants, and 295 eligible non-participants about their knowledge and attitudes toward responsible investing. Across all demographic groups surveyed, the results show that a majority of plan participants, women in particular, believe their retirement plans should offer responsible investment options - and that having these options would favorably affect their attitudes toward the plan and their employers.

      Social issues lead interest

      When asked about social causes, those surveyed expressed strong concern over issues such as human rights, the fair treatment of employees, and the environment. More of those surveyed rated supporting causes they believe in (70%) and being environmentally responsible (67%) as a priority in their life than having the latest technology (54%), going to the gym (49%) or being active on social media (39%).

      The vast majority of those surveyed (82%) said they would select a responsible investment option if one was offered and nearly one-third (32%) responded that they would direct all their plan contributions to responsible investments if offered; among Millennials, the number grows to 46%.

      Opportunities for employers

      The survey found satisfaction and likelihood to recommend one's employer is higher among plan participants who are pleased with their retirement plan, and that retirement plan satisfaction may be higher when responsible investment options are offered.

      In addition, the study found that perceiving an employer as trustworthy and a good corporate citizen are as or more important to company loyalty as perceiving the firm as providing competitive salary and offering good benefits.

      Bottom line: Retirement investors not only want responsible investment options in their plans, they view employers who offer them more favorably. This translates into opportunities with the plan sponsor community.